FREE checklist for writing the best press release
Firstly, think about what you want to say and how to make it relevant to the person you are sending your news to.
For example, if you are hoping to get coverage in a title that covers a defined geographical area, make sure you make it relevant to that part of the world. It may not be enough to say “because I want to sell to customers there.”
Secondly, think about the language you use. Don't use jargon.
The language relevant to a trade title or website is different from a general news outlet. A general news reporter might not understand what you are talking about!
Thirdly, send a picture (or an mp4 video clip) with the press release.
Staff photographers are pretty thin on the ground but there is still a need for great pictures in print and online, so if you can send them a great picture, it increases your chance of exposure. Some news organisations welcome video
clips but don't overdo the branding and remember they might not be able to use YouTube clips.
HEADLINE: Think of a short, snappy headline that encapsulates everything you want to say bearing in mind how your story is useful to the person you are sending it to. Don't overdo the puns.
INTRO: One sentence of no more than about 30 words (the shorter the better) to encapsulate the whole story. Think of it as a tweet - would you be happy for that line to be tweeted? Perhaps suggest it as a tweet.
FOLLOW UP PARAGRAPHS: Get all your follow up information in as early as possible in order of importance to you. Bear in mind that the journalist/reporter might think something else is the most important item. There's no law that says they must use it in the form you send it.
USE A GOOD QUOTE: Use the first and surname, as well as their job title, in a lively comment.
DON'T WAFFLE: Stick to
the point. If they use the first two paragraphs in print or online, are you happy you've got everything of vital importance across. Your total word count should not exceed 400 words, so think carefully about your message.
EDITOR'S NOTES: Only use for sources of more information.
CONTACT: Give the phone number and email address of someone who is going to be available if the content specialist needs more info.
MAKE IT EASY: Send the words of your release in the body of the email so the reporter doesn't have to waste time trying to open attachments.
Send pictures as attachments in jpeg format; make sure the images are big enough to use.
FOR MORE INFO: Call David Tooley, freelance business editor on (+44) (0)1582 872915.
Good luck and remember not to be put off if things you send aren't used every time. Keep going and build relationships with journos.